Matanikau Ambush

On the evening of August 12, a 25-man U.S. Marine patrol, led by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Goettge and primarily consisting of intelligence personnel, landed by boat west of the Lunga perimeter, between Point Cruz and the Matanikau River, on a reconnaissance mission with a secondary objective of contacting a group of Japanese troops that U.S. forces believed might be willing to surrender. Soon after the patrol arrived, it ran into a large party of senior Japanese officers and NCOs who were reconnoitering the Marine lines for a probable attack , and a firefight ensued that almost completely wiped out the Marine patrol. Lt Colonel Goettge was killed in the attack, which paved the way for a battalion-sized assault on the Matanikau and Kokumbona villages.

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